1794. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 14 July [1810]

1794. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 14 July [1810] ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

I thank you for the volume of Jesuit letters. [1]  That part which is perfect contains several letters from Brazil, among which are some by Anchieta, [2]  & by the second Provincial Luiz da Gram. [3]  If you can borrow for me the compleat series of which you have got scent, it will be of essential service. I am particularly in want of those from Paraguay.

I got a few books from Spain by means of a young man [4]  who went over with Jacob the M.P. [5]  whom Whitbread cross-examined as if more suo [6]  he considered himself Counsel for Buonaparte in the House of Commons. [7]  They were a very small part of the list which I sent & at a very high price, partly because the communication with Madrid was cut off partly because the English had gleand Andalusia. Nevertheless I obtained Gumilla, [8]  Piedrahitas Hist. del Nuevo Reyno (a book which I particularly wished to procure) [9]  & the Noticias de California. [10]  Unfortunately not none of my desiderata respecting Paraguay were to be found. Murray the bookseller tells me he has means of sending to Paris at this time, & I have sent there in hopes of obtaining most of the works of the Ex Jesuits at Faenza [11]  as I xxx yet want, particularly the Latin version & continuation of Charlevoix. [12] 

I can begin to be in daily expectation of poor Grosvenor.

Will you get me a few names for a subscription to a half-guinea volume, – the production of a poor Bristol lad by name Roberts, who dying at 19 left them his papers as a legacy to his sister. [13]  He was a youth of very high promise, as the book will prove, – but it is on the score of charity that I solicit subscriptions. – xx his parents are sinking under accumulated misfortunes, [14]  & we are in hopes of raising a sum which may enable the daughter (their only remaining child) to put herself in a situation which will enable her to support them.

My brother Tom has not quitted the navy – but he has married, – in which tho he has chosen very well, I do not think he has done wisely. It is a thankless service, & now almost a hopeless one for a man who has no interest. I should have more hope for him if Ld Melville were to go back to the Admiralty [15]  than from any other circumstance, – because I think Scott would use his influence.

It is not impossible that I may see you this autumn. I will if I can possibly spare time, – but my occupations are numerous, & any one of them almost enough for one mans business. – I am in daily expectation of an increase of family.

God bless you


Keswick. July 14.


* MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4813D. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey had advertised for ‘volumes of the Jesuits’ Annual Letters or Relations’; see The History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), I, p. vi. The volume procured by Wynn is unidentified. BACK

[2] The Jesuit missionary and author José de Anchieta (1534–1597), who had been one of the founders of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. BACK

[3] Luiz da Gra (1523–1608?), second Provincial of the Jesuits in Brazil. BACK

[4] George Ridout (1788–1871), later Lecturer and Vicar of Newland, Gloucestershire. He was the son of John Gibbs Ridout (1758–1823), London apothecary, who had provided Coleridge with medical advice. See also Southey to Herbert Hill, 24 June 1810, Letter 1787. BACK

[5] William Jacob (1761/2–1851; DNB), MP for Rye 1808–1812. He made a 6-month visit to Spain in 1809–1810 and published Travels in the South of Spain the following year. BACK

[6] ‘in his usual manner’. BACK

[7] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808, 1.1 (1810), 432, reporting William Jacob’s speech in the Commons on 9 March 1808, retailing French atrocities at Puerto Real; the Whig MP, Samuel Whitbread (1764–1815; DNB), then rose to challenge Jacob and ask him if he had been an eye-witness to these scenes. BACK

[8] Jose Gumilla (1686–1750), El Orinoco ilustrado y defendido. Historia Natural, Civil, & Geografica de este gran rio y de sus caudalosas vertientes (1791), no. 3488 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[9] Lucas Fernandez Piedrahita (1624–1688), Historia General de las Conquistas del Nuevo Reyno de Granada (1688). Southey’s copy was no. 3615 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[10] The Jesuit administrator and historian Miguel Venegas’s (1680–1764) Noticias de la California (1757), which deals with the settlement of Baja, California and is a standard source for information about the early Californias. Southey’s copy was no. 3767 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[11] Writings of the Jesuits who had been exiled from Paraguay in 1767 and settled around Faenza, Italy, for example the cartographer and linguist Joachim Camano (1737–1820); see Southey, The History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), III, pp. 613–614. BACK

[12] Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix (1682–1761), Historia Paraguajensis, ex Gallioc Latina, cum Animadversionibus et Supplemento (1779). Southey later obtained a copy, no. 691 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[13] Eliza Roberts (dates unknown). BACK

[14] Roberts’ father William (dates unknown), a brewer, had been made bankrupt in 1793. BACK

[15] Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville (1742–1811; DNB), First Lord of the Admiralty 1804–1805. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)


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